The third annual PigstockTC raised $2,625 for the new 10 Cents a Meal for School Kids & Farms program that will provide schools with extra funds to purchase locally grown fruits and vegetables.
The event featured noted national chef and book author Michael Ruhlman, who praised the initiative as an important antidote to the nation’s high-processed foods diet, which health experts say contributes to childhood obesity and chronic diseases such as diabetes.
“Our food system is currently making us sick,” chef Ruhlman said. “We need to change that. We do so by educating our children about the importance of cooking good food. But what are we teaching them if we can’t feed them a decent lunch? Use the great local food you have here to feed our children’s bodies and our children’s minds. Support the 10 Cents a Meal program.”
10 Cents a Meal is a joint, two-year project of the nonprofit Michigan Land Use Institute’s farm to school program and the Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District. For about $50,000 a year, this program would provide up to nine school districts in four counties an extra 10 cents per school lunch for locally grown fruits and vegetables, mostly in elementary schools in districts that have worked with MLUI to build their programs. Eventually, the project could be expanded throughout the region.
Fundraising for the program kicked off at PigstockTC. John Hoagland, owner of Cherry Capital Foods, increased the company’s donation of $10 a ticket to $15, with 175 tickets sold. “I support Michael’s sentiment 100%,” he said in explanation.
Epicure Catering, whose co-owner Cammie Buehler attended the event, donated an additional $150.
“We are grateful to Cherry Capital Foods and Epicure Catering for providing such a strong launch to our fundraising effort for 10 Cents a Meal,” said Diane Conners, senior policy specialist in Food & Farming at MLUI. “We hope other businesses similarly will consider a donation. This is a great way to invest in children’s health while also building the local economy.”
For more information on how to donate, contact Conners at 231-941-6584 ext. 16 or [email protected].